With so many entertainment choices today like Netflix, Red Box, $5 Movies, or your weird Facebook friend who posts strange videos why should someone consider the timeless art of burlesque as valid entertainment? Good entertainment should contain important elements to get us to spend our hard earned dollars. Entertainment must be interesting, intellectual, tasteful, suspense filled, engaging, and yes….SEXUAL! In the pursuit of understanding burlesque I contacted burlesque producer Yadira “Yadi” Hurtado. So gentlemen, buckle up and enjoy the ride.
The art of burlesque began in the 1840’s in Britain and made its way to America a short time later. The burlesque would entertain the middle-class in a variety show format that parodied the operas, plays and behavior of the upper-class. The burlesque shows relied heavily upon comedy, music, dancing and striptease to get the point across. The revealing outfits went against the social norm for women of that day. The burlesque costumes challenged the norm that women had to be hidden by layers of clothes to be respectable. The women of burlesque did not simply put on skimpy outfits and shake what their momma gave them for money because it was a choreographed event and never intended to be stripping (complete nudity).
Fast forward to the present day and meet Ms. Yadi who began producing Rockabilly shows that included burlesque performers. According to Yadi, “They (performers) always got great reactions, which made me think I should do more with it. I decided to do my first full burlesque show which I themed ‘Candyland.” In the shows Yadi produces do not expect to see complete nudity so save the dollar bills for the admission and buy Yadi’s 2013 burlesque calendar! The burlesque performers have strategically placed pasties because the performers are focused upon the choreographed routine and engaging the audience in the striptease.
The striptease element of the burlesque show is not limited to the choreographed dancing but it also incorporates elaborate costumes that are made for the performers. The costumes are not leftovers from Halloween or bought from a shelf at Walmart and Yadi said the “costumes can take months to make.” Every facet of the costume is designed to highlight the performers body and to keep the audience engaged. The burlesque performers have not only committed time to develop and learn the routine but they are also invested in the costumes (click on image above: Ruby Champagne/Model, Angela Morales/photography, MUAH Elizabeth Gutierrez).
The musical element in Yadi’s shows is traditional and typically the women are performing to the sound of the 40’s and 50’s but there is always the exceptions. You might even catch a live band performing. The art of burlesque is not only engaging your sense of sight but also of sound.
As burlesque has evolved so are Yadi’s productions because other elements are being added to the shows format. One thing I am very pleased to introduce to you is the Yadi Presents 2013 Burlesque Calendar (click image below) which highlights 12 burlesque performers (Dizzy Von Damn, Fever Blister, Holly Go Darkly, La Cholita, Ruby Champagne, Angie Cakes, Drea Dillinger, Sophia Sirena, Lil VonShtupp, Cinnamon Britches, Dolly Danger, Jessabelle Thunder). Trust me when I say this, Gentlemen you will not be let down by this beautiful work of art! The calendar can be hung anywhere; bar, billiard room, barber shop, garage, man-cave or whatever you wanna call it. If you are lucky enough to attend a calendar signing show the performers will autograph the calendar for you! The launch of the calendar is another reminder that Yadi’s burlesque shows are entertainment and art.
Another facet that I found to be amazing is the posters/flyers that Yadi creates for the burlesque shows. These are cleverly designed and should be highly collectible (*hint Yadi*). The design and layout revolve around the theme of the show. The posters/flyers are another piece of art that would like great on any wall! Look at a few examples below.
Currently Yadi is producing shows in Southern California but I am sure discerning audiences all across the country will want a high quality burlesque show in their town. While Yadi has yet to take her show overseas I highly encourage international Gentlemen to contact her and book some shows. Yadi plans to visit Europe next summer and that can be a great time to network with a creative and ambitious woman who is progressing the art of burlesque and I am sure has many more great things to come.
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For over 170 years Gentlemen have enjoyed the art of burlesque and Yadi and other producers are keeping it alive for audiences today. The performers are women who are dedicated to their craft and should be honored with your support. As I wrote this blog post about Yadi’s burlesque shows I was amazed that the art of burlesque is the literal definition of art. According to my handy dandy Apple computer dictionary the defintition for art is “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form…producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” Like all art forms some suit your taste better than others but your preference does not negate other art forms.
The art of burlesque that Yadi and the performers bring to each show have a nostalgic feel and can transport you back to a time when life did not revolve around computers, cell phones and everything else for entertainment and emotional power.
Gentlemen of tradition and distinction should enjoy art and expand your horizons of entertainment. On a personal note, I wish Yadi and the performers much success now and in the future and it was a pleasure writing about your art.
How to contact Yadi: